John woke up to an alarm blaring in his ear. A few minutes later and he was on his way to work with a coffee and a bagel. It would be a busy day today at the firm, two meetings with clients and a meeting with management. He turned into the parking lot and made his way in. He greeted the young man at the reception desk with a smile and a wave. "Hey Thomas! Busy day, huh?" Thomas smiled. "Hey Jonas! Yeah it's a real doozy." John continued on into the office. "Hey Jesse!", "Hi Claire", "How's it going Jeremy?", "Just a bit busy Eli."
They all remembered his name, it was just that none of them heard it the same for some reason. The first year that he worked here they argued about it constantly.
"Hi, I'm John." John would say.
"Nice to meet you Jason." They would respond. He would shake their hand, used to this treatment, but someone would always pipe up when they weren't used to it. "No he said his name was Johnson." At least they were close. After a while, he would explain the weirdness and just tell everyone to call him whatever they want.
John snapped out of his reverie and set his things down at his desk and then made his way straight to the conference room. The first meeting would start in five minutes.
He entered the conference room and started shaking hands and introducing himself to the clients. He would just introduce himself as a nickname that someone could understand like J.D, but it still had the same effect. He also found that even if he said his name was something like Robert, what they heard still started with a "J", just like he had said his name was John. After four of the five minutes were up he was able to convince the clients to just call him whatever made them comfortable.
The meeting started after that. John worked at an upscale architecture and construction firm. He had always enjoyed the look of modern architecture and he needed money, but that was about all that tied him to this job. They talked for an hour about what the clients wanted changed with the designs that they had drawn up in their last meeting and after taking notes and communicating what his team could do, his manager said that they would get the new drawings to them by Thursday. That only gave his team and the other team led by Claire three days to make the changes. It was possible, but it was really pushing it if they wanted to make sure everything was to code and would get a pass from all the regulating bodies. "Actually," He spoke up. "I think Monday would be best. The drawings will be done by Thursday, but with the extra time we can make sure that everything is up to code and won't be held back by any further delays."
The client seemed angry at the delay at first but when they heard the explanation, they nodded, as it did seem reasonable. "Just make sure they are back to us as soon as possible." John nodded. "Of course."
As the clients left, John's manager came up to him. "What are you playing at, undermining me like that?!" John just looked him in the eye and responded calmly. "I didn't undermine you. I said that the drawings would be done by Thursday, which would make you correct, but that we needed more time to go through regulation, which makes us look more responsible to the client and also makes sure the client doesn't hit further delays and start complaining to you. Plus they will probably end up paying you more now anyway." He could see his boss getting angrier, but something about John's gaze pierced it and he seemed to deflate. "Besides," John said. "If you would like to take credit, you can feel free. I am sure you would have thought of it a moment later, I just wanted to make sure the client didn't move the conversation." John gave him a smile and then they went their separate ways.
This is actually how John had gotten his own team. He didn't have the technical skills, but he was good with clients and he wasn't afraid to speak up about what they would really need. This meant that his team never had rushed deadlines. Most of the people from Claire's team had tried to switch a while ago, since anyone else who spoke up in front of the boss, Claire included, got shot down. They had terrible deadlines for the longest time until John recommended that Claire's team become something like a sub-team of his. She would keep him informed and he would negotiate for them at meetings and keep them informed and, more importantly, keep them from getting steamrolled.
John knew that him and his boss had a good relationship. He respected John and John respected him. His boss had a stressful job and whenever someone screwed up, he was the one who got chewed out, not the one who screwed up. Since John always kept that in mind, his boss respected his decisions, knowing that he would keep the boss from getting in trouble with a client due to missed deadlines and since John would be the one advocating for the time extension, he was the one who heard the complaints from the clients, rather than his boss.
John sent out the email to his team about the deadline and then grabbed his notepad and things from his desk again and made his way back to the conference room. This would be the first meeting with this client, so there would be a lot of notes to take. He also had his lead architect come with him to help him advocate what would be reasonable to build and give better estimates of how much things would cost and how much time things would take.
Before he went into the meeting, his boss stopped him. He noticed that his boss was avoiding eye contact. "Listen Jones. I don't want you pissing off this client. You leave the talking to me or I will bring it up at our meeting with management and get you fired." John was taken aback. Maybe he didn't have the relationship with his boss that he thought he did. They entered the room and met with the client. It was just one man that looked to be in his early forties. "Are you sure you don't want your lawyers or project managers or anything involved? Even an assistant?" John's boss asked. The man chuckled. "I have been doing this long enough to know my fair share of how it works and I find that getting too close to people distracts me." They let him have his way and John shook his hand. "Nice to meet you, I'm John." The man's sure grip faltered and he actually stumbled backwards, his eyes wide.
John looked at him confused. "I haven't heard that name for mil-" He cut himself off with a cough and a look at John's boss. "I haven't heard that name in years." John's boss looked at him, just as confused as John. "Jones isn't that uncommon of a name." The client chuckled again. "I suppose that is what you would hear. We should talk afterward." He handed John a card. It was very old and had just a name and a number on it. "Leon Davids - (555)555-555."
John nodded and they carried on with the meeting. Leon had a very strange request for something of a large studio mixed with a large workshop. It was expansive. "I think we can get this wrapped up for you by next Friday." He shook hands with Leon, but John spoke up. "Actually, I'm afraid this might take a bit longer than that. You have a lot of detail in these pillars and the odd shape of this extension here," John pointed. "Will make things a bit complicated. My lead architect is here and he says that my team should be able to get it done by the end of the month, but if you don't mind I would like to take another week after that to make sure everything is structurally sound and up to code and regulation."
Leon took it well. "I thought so much. I used to do a bit of construction in my time and it would have taken me a while to do this. I was thinking you were some team of geniuses or something. Thank you for being honest, I can deal with the wait."
Leon made his way out, but John's boss was fuming.